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Eloy - Visionary CD (album) cover

VISIONARY

Eloy

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.29 | 230 ratings

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kenethlevine
Special Collaborator
Prog-Folk Team
3 stars In the glory days of the late 1970s and early 1980s, ELOY would surprise us fans from one release to the next. Sure their lyrics were hackneyed and Frank Bornemann's vocals were not everyone's bag, but these were secondary, buried beneath the real story: the evolution of a visionary and his ever changing cast. Few bands attained their level of consistency for as long as they did while avoiding stagnation, and they were also among the elite who kindled the progressive flame during those dark days. That they could shift so dramatically and so effortlessly at annual intervals is hard to fathom given that, in the 11 years between "Ocean 2" and "Visionary", ELOY as a band has down shifted into neutral.

Even by the standards of the pseudo-philosophical story lines, the lyrics here are weak, playing on incessant rhyming of words that end in "ation" or "ery". I wasn't surprised by anything until a pixie was mentioned in the final track. Never has there been an Eloy album as vocal dominated as this, which I assure you is not a plus, since the band's prime strength has been its instrumental fireworks, mostly absent here. I have always counted myself as a fan of Frank's voice because he can sound angry and shift to caressing, but here he mostly sounds robotic, clearly unable to squeak out of an increasingly narrow range. The backing of Anke Renner and Tina Lux on most tracks was a smart move, but not what fans clamor for.

After 11 years, we get a mere 42 minutes running time, with one of the tracks being a modest alteration on the classic "Time to Turn". Others sound very similar to some of the work on "Ocean 2", the best of these being "Edge of Insanity", as much because it rocks out of the stupor too common elsewhere, but also due to spirited synth work by Michael Gerlach. "Summernight Symphony" is a reasonable attempt to repeat the "Childhood Memories" motif from "Tides Return..", while the opener is notable for pleasant acoustic guitar and Renaissance flute otherwise dressed up in a typical latter day ELOY outfit. Both parts of "The Secret" are simply too dirge like to appeal to most long time fans, particularly Part 2, which drones on ad nauseum, even the moderately appealing bass line being almost a verbatim steal from "The Challenge".

If you are looking for top notch German space rock, you may want to try Leipzig's DICE who appear to have usurped the crown from ELOY. I feel like the traffic officer who listened to my pathetic excuse for running a stop sign a few years ago, ridiculed me mercilessly, and then inexplicably pardoned my ticket. It's sad to see such a waste of talent and exploitation of fans, but what's disappointing ELOY is still good music that knows how to generate a spacey ambiance, aural visionaries that they are. 2.5 stars undeservedly rounded up.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |

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